U.S. At War: Big Inch Comes Through

Powerful cranes swung the two-ton pipe around, dropped it gently into a four-foot, slippery, clay ditch. Two welders banged their helmets down over their faces, descended into the ditch, self-conscious at doing their daily routine before 800 people. Their electric torches flared briefly, shooting a sizzling glare in the bright sunlight. The vital work done, short, rotund Interior Secretary Harold Le Clair Ickes stepped gingerly down into the pit, posed for the photographers. Big Inch was through.

The 12,282 citizens of Phoenixville, Pa. (four miles from Valley Forge) hadn't known such hoopla since the Revolution, when British soldiers pushed as far west...

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